Ah, Christmas tme again…

This is my third Christmas in Nigeria.

The first time was uneventful. I arrived September 2006. By October, i got malaria. I took it in stride, taking paracetamol. But the headache and the chills got unbearable. So by December, i finally went to a clinic for a blood test and got some anti-malaria medicines.

In short, my first December here was a bummer. I stayed in the house, sick, and contented myself with calls to the Philippines. New Year was as normal as Saturday night. Few firecrackers and kwitis, some gunfires. But it was not as loud and prolonged as in Philippines.

My second December, i was in Enugu. There were only 3 of us Pinoys there and we are a-distant from each other. We just had lunch on the 24th. For besperas noche buena, I just stayed at home and called Pinas.. The client gave us a Red Label and red wine for the night. On Christmas day, we had lunch of Lebanese foods and sweets at the client’s house. New Year came and went. Nothing special.

Now, i am back in Lagos. New housing, new environment. New set of Pinoy ka-barangay..

dsc04438his time, I was finally able to attend a Filipino Pasko. I went to Barangay Apapa Christmas Party last Dec. 13th. It was held in the staff house of Kuya Manny F.’s company, a long time resident in Nigeria. They had a live band — Nigerian. Great music. Drinks were overflowing.  Two lechons for pulutan. A group of seamen from a cargo ship docked at Apapa wharf also attended and brought with them several cases of San Miguel Pale Pilsen and Light — in cans. Iba talaga ang lasingan pag SMB… Napapahaba ang inuman.

I think i drank red wine toooo much, i can’t remember how i was able to get back to our house. In the morning, Ferjim said we went home together and that i was stone-drunk  the previous night.

Next, Barangay Ikeja hosted another Xmas party last Dec 21. Because it’s a sunday, they decided to start at 1.30PM with a Catholic Mass presided by a Filipino priest (Fr. Dory) and finish early, in consideration of next day work.

Plenty of Filipinos from all over Lagos showed up. Food is a-plenty (4 lechon, huh.).

Unfortunately, i got a bad case of indigestion (gabaan! wa may ugam..) so i have to leave early. But it was a great event and the various ‘parlor games’ presided by Marix Tajo was well-participated by Pinoys, Pinays and other expat guests.

So, you might say i finally had some fun in Nigeria.

In the office, it is time for card-giving, as it is the custom here in Nigeria. Thank goodness. Cards ra man diay..  So i gave cards to our sales staff and management.

Randy, the Filipino manager in our  finance department , showed his Nigerian staff how to have a Christmas Party, Pinoy-style. Complete with kringles, exchange gift, videoke contest and parlour games.

Our bosses received some gift packs called ‘hamper’, containing various items and wines. In turn, our company made our own ‘hampers’ to be given to our valued clients and business associates.

But where will I be on the 24th? I am inclined to stay at home with my Indon housemates. But my Pinoy boss, Oliver, has invited me to spend the night with his family.

I need to buy plenty of MTN recharge cards for calls back home….

On the 31st, Brgy Apapa will have a redux of the Nigerian live band. I swear i will stay away from the red wines. i will settle with Star beer.

Despite the travel ban, a lot of Nigeria OFWs went home this December for vacation.  My Pinoy colleagues, Ferjim, Randy and Marcio among them.

Notwithstanding the worldwide economic crisis, economic and political problems in the Philippines, there are still plenty of reasons to spread good tidings this Holidays..

i close with a quote from:

John Greenleaf Whittier:xmas-simbang-gabi2

Somehow, not only for Christmas
   But all the long year through,

The joy that you give to others
   Is the joy that comes back to you.

And the more you spend in blessing
   The poor and lonely and sad,

The more of your heart’s possessing
   Returns to you glad.

Maligayang Pasko 2008 at Mapayapang Bagong Taon 2009 sa buong mundo…